Rock Hudson was the famous All-American ladies’ man, a popular actor, a closeted homosexual and the first celebrity to die of AIDS in 1985.
Writer and director Cameron Lukey explores the contradictions, controversy and uncertainty of Hudson during the final years of his life in the dramatic production Playing Rock Hudson.
The narrative is based on the 1989 trial where a lover of Hudson sued the actor’s estate for reckless endangerment, claiming that Hudson put his life at risk by lying to him about the AIDS diagnosis.
“It switches back and forth from his life to the court case. It’s about perception and projection,” says Lukey. “We live in a culture where people think they know what’s going on in people’s lives and relationships. But in reality we can never know the truth. It’s a very private thing.”
The moving production also portrays how the death of Hudson became a pivotal turning point for the homosexual community and for research into AIDS. “For people who didn’t know who he was they were fascinated by how complex the story is and interested in why it has been overlooked and forgotten,” he says.
Riveting and honest, the production explores the culture of celebrity, masculinity and sexuality through the lens of one of Hollywood’s most mysterious celebrities. (SOC)
Nov 5-23, TAP Gallery, 45 Burton St, Darlinghurst, $30-35, leftbauerproductions.com
BY SHAUNA O’CARROLL